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tv   Going Underground  RT  December 25, 2021 10:30am-11:01am EST

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change all this while a new cold war ratchets up the chances of extinction, but another man made existential threat nuclear annihilation. so is humanities, intelligence, and collective knowledge? also the root of its own destruction of the only beneficiaries, the 1000000000 is looking to escape the planet in private rockets. joining me now is renown for loss for ac grayling whose new book the frontiers of knowledge, explodes, the progress barriers and future of humanity. when it comes to enlightenment, thank you so much. a professor railing for coming back on. if anyone thinks that they don't need to read this book, you imply that they have their own themselves to be to blame for being blown to bits by append to give us a nation drone. why? why is this not as it's eric? well, because i'm here. i can create the, i'm forced always used in his novels, you know, only connect that if you're able to connect things together a bit, make better sense of your much more likely to make good decisions about what to do . you know, there's
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a wonderful anecdotal about the great physicist the steven why and by nobel prize winning physicist who, when ronald reagan was contemplating putting anti ballistic missile up in space. you may remember a kind of defense that was installed on satellites. weinberg said, it doesn't bother me. the president reagan doesn't know any science, but it does bother me that he doesn't know any philosophy and history. of course, the point was precisely that if you don't have context, don't put scientific developments into context or that see how science is changing history. if you don't do that true way, joining up then you're going to get into trouble. well, little known fact and i was cradled on the enforced as ne, that's how old i am. pretty we're. but i, i don't know whether the quote from using which you don't use in the book. when he said, i, maybe it's a book or for that all he saw himself was finding a smooth pebble or a prettier shell. the great ocean of truth before him. central to this book is what
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the more we know the less we know. yes, i mean, it's really very striking fact about the history of knowledge, if you like that until the beginning of modern times that he's in the 16th the 17th century, people thought that an increase of knowledge meant a diminishment of ignorance. the more you, the less weight are involved, and perhaps that implies that monday we wouldn't have everything, we would understand everything. we have a complete picture of the universe and we would have a grip on the truth. and of course, this is inspired by the model of knowledge, truth and certainty, which is provided by the great religions because the great religion say that they have the final closed story about everything. and what's happened since the scientific revolution, many of the 17th century and everything as follows from that is that the more we discover, the more we find out, the more knowledge we accumulate, the more questions or problems it. and it's been like occupy an island which is growing in the ocean and then the big and the i didn't get the longer the shoreline
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of ignorance becomes. and we realized more and more and more how little we know give you one very striking example of that. if you think of the enormous explosion of scientific knowledge, particle physics, quantum theory at one end of the scale, cosmetology at the other end of the scale, our understanding of the universe just in the last 100 years, huge explosion of knowledge about that. and what is it taught us? it's taught us that we have access to less than 5 percent of the mass density of the universe. less than 5 percent to physical reality is accessible to i think investigation more than 95 percent of that. it got matter dark energy. well, no idea what it is. we can see some of its effects, but we don't know what it is. and so this is a beautiful example of how the more we know the more we realize the last minute. but of course those who are religious around the world and you've had spectacular debates with that. maybe, maybe actual clergymen, i will say, you know,
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ever since the counselor and i see or whatever, they always said, the bible or the koran later in, they just entered, these are not the true the, the, they opened up questions and then there's a huge amount of ecumenical debate, is it really that knew the 5 percent was is the 95 percent dog matter? isn't that comparable to the divinity of christ and whether he is 3 people and so well, and the easiest thing in the world is to get mad in the swanson theological controversy here. but you do have to remember that even at the bay dawn of about an age 1617th century, the church, the catholic church, this area is quite literally putting people to death for life, excepting the literal truth of scripture. you may remember that alleyah was put on trial for saying that the move flies around the sun and he had to deny it in order
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to save his life. so i mean, to that extent and your age, the old idea that the truth about things that the complete picture was available to us in our traditions. that was the thing that was revolutionized really by the rise of science and philosophy. and in the early modern period, we didn't well now, which is the inheritor of that very healthy kind of skepticism inquiry asking questions, probing not carrying a desire to believe, to the world and looking for ways of justifying them, but taking out curiosity to the world and finding out what tells us about it itself, but of course some would say that those are catholic elite that we're prosecuting galileo catholic elite that we're sending the message now. nowadays, we will say that science funding, obviously, and you do broach, the topic elite is being skewed towards elite a game. is there that much of a change that we have? it's changing the way science is invested in. and of course, over time we've had,
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i know, class managers in this book as well. i should say. i think there is a huge difference between the people who take the leading roles in scientific work and discovery. and people who occupy hierarchies and religious traditions. and the big difference is that in the science hierarchy, if there is such a thing, the idea of a critical skepticism, that idea of challenging people's results of demanding it may be replicated. company of different labs, for example, checking on the results of all the lapse of the great competition there is to get the answer right. and you know, to get the fax settled. that is very healthy aspect of the way that just science develops it demented to this tremendous dialectic, if you like, of, of, of criticism, investigation of scrutiny of results. and that is something which very difficult to
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do. if you in a tradition where you have a center received truths, and virtue is to believe them accept them and live by them. so a very, very different kind of mindset. i mean, i know everyone relies on quantum mechanics for their mobile phones and the positioning and einstein's theories. but i mean, is it really replication no one at school? if they get the experiment, they come up with a different value for the percentage of oxygen or something. in some way experiment is going to go. we're going to be disproved a huge amount and with the higgs both on its own, isn't it? if they hadn't found it, they would have just said, well, we'll keep looking for it. it's not that it doesn't exist. isn't there something on to logical about that? you know, i can tell you an interesting little anecdote about the space on, in connection with us. you just said that a good friend of mine is one of the lead time just sits on the lot of children and he was on the contact me on someone right experiment. that's one of the true
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experiments of is looking for the he's itself. and when, when they announced that they were satisfied, they'd spotted it. this is in 2012 after a number of years of going over and over and over the results and being absolutely sure that they really got it right. i said to him, it must have been a wonderful occasion. you must have felt so exhilarated and indeed the consequences are for him. thus in the way, gracie was knighted and you know, 100 tremendous metal and so forth. but he said to me, said oh yes, yes, yes, it was great on that day. but you know what? if we hadn't found it, it would have been so exciting because it would have meant that there's a whole lot of different physics out there that we needed to look for. now is that attitude is that we set to oversee that one that, that 1st, that hunger for finding out more on for digging into difficult mysteries of nature and the universe or of the past for that matter or human nature. which is fe,
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distinctive of a best of our enquiries, not just in natural science, but i think historians who look at antiquity and try to make sense of how things work for people. then people look at the brain and how it functions and into human psychology. these are exhilarating, exhilarating inquiries, and you know, it's like opening christmas present the 2nd opening apostle because you don't know what's inside. but you do know that whatever is inside is going to be part of least of an answer to a question that you've got. and i should just say the range in this book in physics archaeology neuroscience is it's all this summarizes summarizing the field actually before we return to maybe the, the class elements and the, what it means today. i mean, just give you talk about ogre it in syria. i would say normally series in the news because we have a british in united states backing against the government back in the midst and so
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on. and meanwhile, on the ground in syria, in recent years, we've discovered amazing things about the history of civilization. just tell me a little bit about that. yes, you know, it's a very striking folks for me about my grandfather was an elderly father. my father was born michael, i go and i was born and my problems page. oh, so i'm unable to say that my grandfather was at school in the 1817 and 18 eighty's seem sort of astonishing. and he would have known nothing of what we now know about the past. because all the discoveries made about syria and iraq, about the presence of mesopotamia, the great civilizations that flourished the invention of writing the origin of the teacher. and so many technological advances, all that was actually on until the 2nd half of the 19th century. and we had to rather just had the books of the hebrew bible, the old testament,
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as christians call it back all wrapped up in legend at home. but that is regarding the semi medicine grids as well. so before about the 8th and 9th century b. c. the past was if there was any sense of that at all, was just really in the midst of knowing. but just r b r a g of the middle east from round about mid of the 19th century has revealed to us quite literally thousands of years of civilized nations about in miss pertaining also in a rep and i'm civilization in this valley. the other, the civilization of china learning much, much more about egypt and civilization, taking us back. we are 4000 years before rogers and the old testament. and that's pretty remarkable is that only got a ball rolling and the ball rolling was a discovery of the whole new electric period. so, you know, they knew stone age and the development and settlements and settled agriculture.
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and then of course, the discovery of human ancestry taking us back tens of thousands of years, hundreds of thousands, even indeed. now with the discovery of generations 6000000 years ago when the very, very earliest ancestors of the human 9 died. but the other apes, chimpanzees, and says in this is startling in the way in which time and the past has opened up so dramatically and so tremendously just very, very recently transforming our view of ourselves in our well, i mean, we're really in, in a way, i personally, as you can see i'm, i find it so fascinating and so exhilarating and feel that if people had a sense of it, but they understood it and it would make them sense their own place in the universe rather differently. i mean, i'm not sure what the warplane pilots were thinking when they were bombing these areas. that recently, it has to be said as an able to help you. the more in the frontiers of knowledge
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after this, your break ah, ah, colorado became kind of a test bed for medical, and then later recreational marijuana and it started with something so innocent. i was wanting to socialize. everybody, does it? so i cannot. and then it just keeps going and going and going. i'm just going to do it one. yeah. and then it's, i'm just going to try this one said never do it again because they want my phone once in the morning, i'm right on inside. okay. and you surround yourself with people who are encouraging you to do it. not just stop or it's all like my life is over. jumped officers off balcony and died. mm. he knew he just couldn't
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join me every thursday on the alex simon. sure. and i'll be speaking to guess what the world politics sport business. i'm sure business. i'll see you then. mm. ah, welcome back. i'm still here with philosopher in public intellectual professor. ac grayling discussing his new work, the frontiers of knowledge. there will be some view is maybe in the american south right now watching this and not taking their vaccinations against corona virus and so on. who will be subjected to a different version of history financed by particular interests. would you do? do mentioned the book. what are the dangers of this as this amazing revolution and thought has been uncovered and discovered an event you know, the human mind and human society is like, dear logical strasser,
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less of geological structure, and very primitive, very a act to take quick, easy answers and superstitious views of the world down in the more primitive layers of our understanding and then increasingly psyche more questioning, slightly more open or skeptical and more rational i think. and the concept of rationality is very important here. because as i say in the book, if you look at the word rational, you see the 1st part of it is ratio, which means proportion. and so a rational belief is one which is proportional to the evidence you have for it, or the strength of the reasons that you can offer for it. and so that tends to be at a rather level of the general structure. people and society is in groups who then societies find themselves to different levels of this geological lab,
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which is why we, you know, have rocket figures in the moon now. and people are still with the astrological forecasts here in 2021. so can it so surprising in a way that there is this kind of mixture and it's a mixture because history is always on the move, the past is always dying and the new is always being born. if i remember correctly, xacto what when i was, i'm thinking a bit about this interview today. i remember that you chose is necka graph to your dream of the decade novels i think you chose, or you chose a remark from graham she, i seem to recall in we she talks about how the old is died in the new is not born. and in that middle period called in a kind of interregnum, there is complexity and difficulty this, this, you know, it's problematic. the present is always problematic in that way because it always says this admixture of the old and the new. so a terrorist might want because of a,
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you know, a traditional belief might use very, very modern means to carry out some act based on that traditional belief. and that is to make sure that we're in at the moment, and it can sometimes be of a dangerous mixture. i mean, i want to go to breakfast again. there were complex breaks, a tear arguments and complex remain. humans famously. but how is it that if, as you say, things become more and more spectral, in terms of our understanding of the questioning of the world and the universe has political, some elements of political theory appeared to get more certain certainly amongst maybe it's just the read your vacation of it would certainly say russia isn't bad, china's bad as was biting would say change, but it's a trump thing x. but why is this questioning in intellectual circles or company? more certainty? i arguably, i'm, it's patricia and there is a very,
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very direct relationship between increasing complexity and increasing simplicity or the propensity to reach for simple quick constance. the more complex things are, the more a lot of people are driven to look for something that simple black and white. this is a, you know, an example of how it is that good. it's just one dimension isn't like, you know, christian fundamentalism in the southern states and the u. s. funding mechanism any way can persist. it's because you can tell anybody the fundamental team, it's doctrines and plans on any of the major religions in less than half an hour. but it takes a bit longer than that to understand physics. and this is a really good example of how if our understanding of the world is increasingly complex, there's a lot to know a lot to understand. and people will reach for the simple answers to human beings
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like a clear story appear in the beginning, middle, and then end martin explanation that what makes sense? they want to have something that they have hang on to. and the simple answer is the one that you reach for when you start feeling it, you're getting in the complex in policy that happens as well. so, you know, if you think of a system like the one in the u. k, which like canada and united states, america and india or have the 1st 13 system. this is a terrible, terrible voting system because car from being a on democratic was going to provide for minority based government. it also means that you can get to political conscience and you never get her eyes ation. you get a, you know, 10 kind of opposition to views that results in slogans and in simplistic arguments. you don't get didn't get people trying to compromise or share all worked together. but you get division b, c, s,
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it is most dramatic in the united states of america by the divide between the republican party and the big democratic party is so big. and so deep as to be frightening and we've seen it and say was in the trunk. yes. that. so in the case of something like branch, it's now going to be perfectly neutral about it and tell you that i think it's the most disastrous idea. british politics of another 1000 years happen in the case that breaks it, that they will see a phenomenon, which is turns back on the idea that if people are worried about all sorts of things in their lives, you can find one simple wouldn't be fugitive explanation for it but a mirror on the u. s. a back sovereignty and we saw these problems out of the way that one, if you can do that. and if you can use these incredible new techniques of communication, because i think social media, the internet, what's happened and google and facebook and so and have been very,
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very malign influences on politics. they great from the things by the way, they great for the sort of democratic anger of conversation, people sharing news and views and couldn't get in touch with one another. yes. but they're also really bad aspects of them because you, my crew target people with false messages that other people can see and call out and ensure they direct them for the elections. i'll give you for that, but then it forrest johnson or donald trump, maybe in 2024. i mean, maybe if you read that, they read the book, then they would come up with the alarming idea that they're on the right path. because this questioning of knowledge of companies seeking for simplicity. so you be there going obviously, i don't agree with it, but johnson get more union. jack's get flags around, you have more simple messages. people are looking for answers and this is a good political mikey, of alien strategy is a to reach evidence. he has worked in recent years. yes. and i suppose you could
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switch around what you've just said. and one of them and tell you wrong center, wrote up more flags. i've been telling everybody else to watch that back when johnson start turning out more flags advocacy trying to do them. so you know that that's the place where it is the message. but what we want to be, what we want to be doing, and that this is a point that i read the book for parking important point is we should make ourselves village across the fields again and then fired, and in particular. so then we can make ourselves better at thinking clearly critically and evaluation. what people train people tend to know because we can make some connections. we can see across the landscape of understanding about doesn't mean that we will have to become part of the system where i could become ancient historians or anything. but while they were each of us needs, of course, on specialism, we need to know the skill in life in our careers. we should also have this general
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literacy, and i think our educational and the trust that by education assistance like it lets us down in the u. k. we start to specialize after 16 now. could you see i see we do few subjects at a level and you might be one subject to university and this is not great. and the old model, the one which is kind of been chipped away ash a lot in the us is that you provider, general education. and then people specialize on the basis of that interests and talents afterwards. but if you, if you specialize too early people, new site of the context of the wider landscape of things into which what they do it . and that i think is important to any part of a complicated story. obviously, i know you talk, you talk to the bus or this, this size culture debate from seabreeze, though, is alive and well. it hasn't changed. yeah. i mean,
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i was talking about history of you. you talk about christopher hill, who's i'll give you a marginalized figure. the great marxist historian it, ok, so i mean, i was taught, there was a civil war here. he talked about it english revolution. is that an example of the kind of way history is skewed? it's a very, very good example of the difference between revisionism, a background in history where like holocaust and i was that say and i'm thinking about the past in much more exact and creative ways to try to make sense of it. looking at it in from the point of view of different frames. and what christopher hill did, i think, and really a significant is that he noticed that if you put the english civil war, what happened? and charles, the 1st and parliament and the rest into this longer context of your history. you
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see, it is the 1st one of the great revolutions. so we think of the french revolution american revolution, we think that they both should be mentioned, bolshevik revolutions. and indeed, the revolution, some folks as well, that the enlightenment assistance. and you see this as part of very basic, different and instructive process. so he was able to push it into and you know, context which makes a c, h, a fresh and interesting the fresh, using this perspective, that marxist interpretation of history office that's very valuable. i cited in the book as a, as a way of showing how revisionism in history that ish revising our understanding of something, is different from historical denial. and can be used to inform us much, much more sensitively about things. another example i use, of course, is the australian setting. when the settlers came with, you know,
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after captain cook back at the end of the 18th century, they regarded australia as well, sometimes called a terran, earliest and empty land. you can just take it there for the, for the taking. and it's only very recently that some historians and australia are said i, on, you know, it, and with many, many different kinds of people living in it. and in fact, it was an invasion that wasn't a settlement and it was of a violent one because there was a long drawn out war between the sexes and the aborigines, which only very recently ended. and that is a way of revising our view of history understanding things differently and trying to do something better now and in future on the basis of that better understand. and in this dichotomy between revisionism and denial, ism is morris johnson. on the denial list side, i'm. well, i don't know what bars john, since views about history, i have a very, very 90 sinking feeling about his views of the present. to say i will.
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well, he does, he does. but i think i may be frank and rude at the same time about it. i think it's because he would like to model himself on judgment. and so he's, he's a kind of, well the shadow official version of churchill where it's ironic, deeper view of trying to show who have many, you know, characteristics which we can do. my, for example, is covered in this, during the 2nd law. but prior to it for decade after decade, he was regarded quite rightly by most of his contemporaries and absolutely you know, boss, do it as some people say because he was so unreliable, politically, switch sides and etc. so maybe bars something has some similarities to him in that respect your present really thank you. thank you very much. that's it for one of your favorite shows of the last season. we'll be back on wednesday, the 12th of january, but until then stay safe. and you can watch all our interviews by subscribing to
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our youtube channel. i'm falling us on all our social media. ah, for christmas, the traditional yuletide on a day. this traditional special christmas guide me christmas tolerance diversity guide. we all know that christmas is a family holiday. so make sure all your parents are properly number. i follow the agenda and make us know woman instead of snowman. or even better. that this new person designed for themselves. ah, no gifts, no,
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i back, i just, i thought arrival guy would go through, go by, you reduce the price, then l reduce the lower that's under got it. but what's good for food market? it's not good for the global economy. with the headlines here on out the international, huge, a huge dwindling u. s. testing centers at armor, cotton sweeps, the nation, the daily infection right now, increasing 7 fold and silicon state. we have a surge when we do need more testing centers. i mean, look at these line, that is a horrible, honestly, you know, most of my friends have to wait on line for hours and hours to get tested. i've had to wait, i'm blind for hours to get tested. and millions of people worldwide facing serious
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